Netflix has rolled out a new feature that should make for a better listening experience. With its new high-quality audio feature, the streaming giant aims to deliver audio that sounds closer to what filmmakers hear when in production.
Netflix already supports Dolby Atmos object surround sound, but this new feature aims to serve up an experience that differs from that immersive sound format. The onus here is on bringing studio quality sound to the service so that every little detail can be heard for a “richer, more intense” watch.
Related: What is Dolby Atmos?
And the most interesting aspect of this feature is that scalability has been built into it. That means if you have bandwidth issues or device limitations, it will adapt accordingly to deliver the best possible audio. This is essentially very similar to what Netflix does with its video quality, adapting on the fly so your experience is not compromised (too much).
The origins of this feature goes back to the second series of Stranger Things (so send your thanks and praise to the sound team on that show). When reviewing episodes, it was noticed that the audio didn’t sound as crisp as it did when played back during the show’s mixing. The initial issue was fixed thanks to delivering a higher bitrate, but that sparked an idea at Netflix to look for a better, more permanent solution.
The high-quality audio means that TVs that support 5.1 or Dolby Atmos are now capable of receiving better audio than they did before. If you’re using 5.1, the bitrate will vary from 192 kbps to a high of 640 kbps and for Dolby Atmos − which is only available if you’re a Premium plan member − audio performance should vary between 448 kbps to 768 kbps.
Netflix says they expect audio performance to evolve over time as encoding techniques become more efficient. This update is live so if you want to benefit from a better audio experience, log in to Netflix right now.